Water voles, which are in serious decline in many parts of Britain, have made a surprising comeback in Somerset and Dorset as shown in a major conservation survey by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
The survey, funded by the SITA Trust is one of several projects led by BASC under its Green Shoots programme and the results show new populations of water voles on the Rivers Parrett and Isle in Somerset, and the Rivers Brit, Simene and Winniford in West Dorset.
BASC and project volunteers will now create and enhance suitable habitat to enable water voles to expand their range and population as well as protecting them through control of American mink.
Robin Marshall-Ball, BASC’s biodiversity project officer in the South West said: “This survey provides the benchmark for future conservation of water voles throughout the project area covering South Somerset and West Dorset. The new populations are significant finds and highlight the benefit that shooting brings to conservation as well as showing exactly what can be achieved when people pull together for a common purpose. I would like to thank the shooting community along with our other partners for all of the effort they have put in on the project.”